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Re: [tlug] Journals, Authors and 'Free Peer Review'

Thanks, Curt, for taking this on:

On 25 September 2018 at 18:06, Curt Sampson <> wrote:
On 2018-09-20 22:14 +0800 (Thu), Raymond Wan wrote:

> Still with publishing, some authors choose to release their work
> publicly first on open access preprint repositories ... Journals
> have to accept this... with some conditions.  (i.e., that you've
> declared it and that, after all the pretty formatting is done by the
> journal, this final version isn't made public).

Except that it seems that the pretty formatting is almost invariably
done by the author, not the journal. At least in the world of
LaTeX-using journals, they expect a source file using their templates
and whatnot that will produce camera-ready copy.

Absolutely. Many journals will reject submissions if they are not formatted and polished in the way they want them.

> I'm not so sure if this works as it seems to be a way for authors to
> "have their cake and eat it".... They get "free peer review" via
> their peers on Twitter...

Oh come on. Journals don't pay for peer review (via real reviews, not
Twitter) either. They expect people working in the field to do review
for them for free. Nor do they usually pay their editorial committees,

Indeed, neither authors nor peer reviewers get paid anything. Both are putting that work in free of charge.

If the authors and peer reviewers are not employed by a university or research organisation to do this work, then the publishers are effectively abusing them as free labour. And if the authors and reviewers are employed and paid by universities or research organisations to do the work, then the publishers leech off that by making the public pay for this work TWICE.

> But it's the state of some research fields now and I think journals
> are forced to accept it in order to compete with others [for now]?

The problem is that the journals aren't providing much beyond some
coordination work, printing (for those still taking paper copies) and
another place to download the PDF. Given the massive increases in
subscription prices for many of them, it's no suprise a lot of authors
wonder just what the journal is doing for the quite nice profits most
of them are making. (And this is why predatory journals have grown so
much over the last decade or so: it's just not very much work to
produce a new 'journal' now.)

Spot on!!!

If there is any industry that deserves to be disrupted by digitalisation and open source, it is the scientific journal publishing industry.

An interesting article on this issue by Prof. Krzysztof Apt of the University of Amsterdam titled

One More Revolution to Make: Free Scientific Publishing

appeared in Communications of the ACM which the author has reproduced on his website with permission here:

If any of you are publishing articles, just put your work on before you submit it to any journal.

More and more articles are now published in this way and the journals don't treat this as an impediment, they treat the rendering as it appears in the journal as their property while the "pre-print" version published on remains the property of the author, licensed to under non-exclusivity.


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